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Linfield politics professor argues for human dignity in Salon.com opinion column

Linfield College Professor Nick BuccolaA column by Professor Nick Buccola was the featured essay on the widely read news site, Salon.com.

The Supreme Court recently handed down its landmark decision, saying the Defense of Marriage Act violated the U.S. Constitution. Justice Antonin Scalia offered a dissenting opinion.

In Professor Buccola’s op-ed column, “Scalia fails to grasp true democracy,” he criticizes Scalia’s political philosophy, saying it’s nothing more than a democratic version of “might makes right.”

“Genuine democracy is based on the equal dignity of each human being, but this premise is missing from Justice Scalia’s understanding of democracy,” Buccola says. For Scalia, he says, the direction of human rights depends upon majority opinion rather than individual rights.

The right to govern ourselves collectively is part of our constitutional tradition, says the Linfield politics professor, but it’s not the whole of it. “This right exists alongside the rights of individuals to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Buccola is the founding director of the Frederick Douglass Forum on Law, Rights, and Justice at Linfield College.

His book, The Political Thought of Frederick Douglass: In Pursuit of American Liberty, has garnered praise for its relevancy and insight. It was published by New York University Press in 2012, and highlights the life of Douglass, a slave who became one the most influential activists and orators of the 19th century.

Buccola has published opinion columns and provided political commentary in regional and national newspapers and journals, including The Oregonian, Dallas Morning News, Baltimore Sun, Dissent magazine and Reason magazine.